200 Open Positions at Nevada Department of Corrections Reveals a Job Difficult to Fill

Listen to the story

200 Open Positions at Nevada Department of Corrections Reveals a Job Difficult to Fill

Prisons

tossmeanote/Flickr

High Desert State Prison in Clark County, where some prisons have many openings for corrections officers. County and city prisons are attracting prison guards with better pay and benefits.

The Nevada Department of Corrections has 200 job openings, and more than half of those are correction officers, according to DOC officials.

110 are open slots for prison guards. Sharlet Gabriel with Human Resources at the DOC says there is a long list of requirements that make it difficult to find people who qualify for the job.


"We did a variance check once," Gabriel said. "If we had had 1,000 applicants for correction officer positions. By the time they go through off of the tests (psych test, the physical test,)we may wind up with 125 to be considered out of that," Gabriel said.


Prisons in the urban Las Vegas area and the more rural areas of Lovelock and Ely have the most job openings.


In urban areas, county and city prisons offer higher salaries and better benefits, while in the rural areas, smaller populations means there are fewer people who are qualified to work as prison guards.


When the Nevada State Prison in Carson City officially closes at the end of March, some guards who were unable to find jobs in prisons nearby will have the option to transfer to rural prisons or be laid off.


Gene Columbus with the Nevada Prisons Association says its a tough choice.

"It's not an easy thing just to pick up and move," he said. "The attitude can sometimes be, 'o well, you're lucky to have a job.' Well, yes and no. we still have livelihoods here, we have people that have worked here for years and look towards corrections as a career and have a homebase here. So, it's not an easy task," he said.

On top of that, Sharlet Gabriel says there are few people who want to work with convicts. She says corrections officers are the ones that spend the most time with inmates.

"People do have a stigma. 'You're a criminal, you're violent, you've done a bunch of horrible things,'" Gabriel said, noting that not all inmates have are violent. "For the violent inmates, people don't feel comfortable being around them," Gabriel said.

On Jan. 31,  a corrections officer was stabbed by an inmate at the Warm Springs Facility.

Officials say the incident furthers reveals the reality of the job.